Honda to retire Asimo, the bipedal robot

It didn't really do anything other than strut for cameras, but Asimo occupied an outsized role in our cultural acceptance of robots.
Written by Greg Nichols, Contributing Writer

So long, Asimo. We'll always have the videos.

Honda has announced that it's officially retiring the world's most famous non-Star Wars-affiliated bipedal robot. News of the retirement came from Nikkei Asian Review.

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Honda began development of Asimo as early as the mid-1980s, and the first version debuted in 2000.

It was a significant milestone in the history of robotics. Asimo was the first untethered robot to autonomously walk and climb stairs on its own.

More research project than marketable product, Asimo fell comfortably into a role as a technology ambassador for Honda. It also became a public face for the forward march of robotics development, which increased dramatically during Asimo's nearly 20 year run.

Among notable Asimo memories, the robot once kicked a ball at President Obama. It also demonstrated some crazy good barista skills years before coffee and bartender robots were a thing. And, of course, there were the feel-good commercials.

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Although Honda never commercialized Asimo, navigation and sensor technology developed for the biped has been made it into the company's vehicles, according to a spokesperson.

Honda has no plans to step away from robotics. Several engineers from the Asimo team have moved to Center X, an R&D division charged with implementing Honda's robotics strategy going forward.

Read also: How 5G will drive down the cost of robots - TechRepublic

The carmaker recently unveiled four personal robots at this year's CES. Honda has also teamed up with a handful of smaller companies focused on robotics-adjacent technologies and AI research, including Tactual Labs and BRAIQ.

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